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commissions or other groups, you mentioned the energy air force base. during the reagan administration, a great big commission that found a solution for social security, these were big public fora where discussions were held with the public and now everything seems to be happening behind closed doors. why could openness happened in years past and today we can not seem to get to deal? >> in large measure because the media has so changed. in those days, you did not have 24-hour coverage. what you find with 24-hour coverage if an idea services, at -- surfaces, at 10:00 a.m., it is dead by 2:00 p.m. because everybody goes to the cameras. the cameras are there. ever-present and wanting to hype something. before you debate it is dead. you really see that around here. >> there has been a fair bit of criticism of the president for not embracing the findings of that commission. what is your take? >> i advised the president not to embrace the specifics because i feared if he did, house republicans would automatically be in opposition. if you are part of the bowles- simpson commission you saw
issue from the panama canal treaties to the energy legislation where byrd worked tirelessly on it to get it done without a filibuster. he had the sense that the senate leader should have a special relationship with the president and that is the way the system was supposed to work. of course, the most important in for the senate leader is to make the senate work. byrd knew the senate rules better than any person that ever lived. he lived in dealing with the notion of the fear of a paralyzed senate. he wanted to think that the rules worked, but he knew that in fact jim allen of alabama had cracked the code. he had figured out how to have this filibuster so the senate could be tied up in paralyzed. robert byrd like to think you have to be an expert to do this, but it turned out you do not need to be an expert at all. a couple of senators did not know the rules and they tied the senate up. byrd struggled with the notion of how to keep the unique character of the senate without having a paralyzed? in that regard, he championed rules change. he got some done in 1979. he knew that the senate ru
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